Unit: Political Science
Program: Political Science (PhD)
Degree: Doctorate
Date: Tue Sep 27, 2011 - 4:01:58 pm

1) Below are your program student learning outcomes (SLOs). Please update as needed.

We assume students who enter graduate level study have been given appropriate training in the fundamentals of the discipline and possess the qualities necessary to produce graduate-level work. From the admissions process on, students are assessed upon several important outcomes.

1. The ability to produce quality scholarship.

At the graduate level we anticipate that students will use their knowledge of the fundamentals of the discipline as well as the critical evolution of the discipline over time to help contribute to that field through their own research.

2. Mastery of one or more of the sub-fields offered in the major.

Our program offers subfields that form the specialization a graduate student will develop while enrolled in the program. We expect students graduating from the program to have mastered one or more of these subfields. Specifically, they should have an understanding of the traditional and critical literature of the subfield and be able to demonstrate a mastery of these fields.

3. Ability to think politically. Much like our expectations of the undergraduate majors, we require students to think politically about social phenomenon. Comprehending that all social, economic, and cultural processes are also political is a crucial learning outcome. That comprehension creates knowledgeable citizenry capable of acting on policy decisions and conduct. That no knowledge is innocent, but that all knowledge has consequences is key to this learning outcome.

2) Your program's SLOs are published as follows. Please update as needed.

Department Website URL: http://www.politicalscience.hawaii.edu/graduate-program.html
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: http://www.politicalscience.hawaii.edu/graduate-program.html
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number: Updated for next calander year
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:

3) Below is the link(s) to your program's curriculum map(s). If we do not have your curriculum map, please upload it as a PDF.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2011:

4) For your program, the percentage of courses that have course SLOs explicitly stated on the syllabus, a website, or other publicly available document is as follows. Please update as needed.


5) For the period June 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011: State the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goals. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

1.  September of 2010 each incoming student in the M.A. and Ph.D. program met with the graduate chair to discuss the learning outcomes appropriate for their plan of study, including appropriate coursework and advising.  In both a general orientation and in individual meetings they were provided with materials relevant to meeting the learning outcomes and expectations of the department.

2.  Annually students graduating with a Ph.D. in that semester are required to submit a dissertation and publically defend it.  Assessment of this work is considered to be in the context of the learning outcomes for the program.  The same is true for the M.A. students.

3.  In Spring of 2011, all graduate students are required to submit a progress report detailing the milestones they have reached that academic year.

4.  In Spring of 2011, the department met as a whole to discuss the progress of the students, identify those who are not meeting departmental expectations, and creating work plans and benchmarks for those who are in danger of falling behind.  Memos from the graduate chair are then sent to students in need of help.  This process is designed as a holistic assessment process of each individual student in the context of the department's goals and the individual student's progress.

6) State the type(s) of evidence gathered to answer the assessment question and/or meet the assessment goals that were given in Question #5.

The evidence gathered is qualitative and based upon the following information.  1.  Courses taken by students. 2.  Progress in the program.  3.  Faculty assessment of current status including academic abilities as well as learning over time.  4.  Professional contributions by students -- conference attendance or workshops. 

7) State how many persons submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

Our does an overall assessment of all graduate students (approximately 137).  However, we target for specific focus those who have been in the program for five years or longer (approximately 35 students this academic year).

8) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected? (Check all that apply.)

Course instructor(s)
Faculty committee
Ad hoc faculty group
Department chairperson
Persons or organization outside the university
Faculty advisor
Advisors (in student support services)
Students (graduate or undergraduate)
Other: The department as a whole.

9) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence? (Check all that apply.)

Used a rubric or scoring guide
Scored exams/tests/quizzes
Used professional judgment (no rubric or scoring guide used)
Compiled survey results
Used qualitative methods on interview, focus group, open-ended response data
External organization/person analyzed data (e.g., external organization administered and scored the nursing licensing exam)

10) For the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goal(s) stated in Question #5:
Summarize the actual results.

As a result of our assessment in Spring of 2011, we sent memos to 13 students notifying them that their progress towards degree was not sufficient.  For many of these students, the key issue remains submitting a defensible proposal.

For those students graduating with an MA or Ph.D. in political science where the defense serves as the final point of assessment, all students defending their work last academic year passed the defense process.

11) State how the program used the results or plans to use the results. Please be specific.

There are several plans in progress.

First, we will be implementing exit interviews to better assess the program from the student perspective.

Second, we will be creating a degree plan form for all Ph.D. students in order to better map their coursework in the program and make sure they meet the learning outcomes identified by the department.

Third, will will continue our ongoing assessment of each student in an annual meeting and engage in the necessary follow up to continue to make progress along these lines.

12) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries?
This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, program aspects and so on.

The department continues to work to refine its assessment strategies and learning outcomes.  We have identified areas of the curriculum that we believe must be strengthened and are working on developing courses to help support these learning outcomes as well.

13) Other important information.
Please note: If the program did not engage in assessment, please explain. If the program created an assessment plan for next year, please give an overview.

Our assessment efforts will continue at the graduate level along a similar course as they have in the past.  We embarked two years ago on a sustained effort to rethink the graduate program and revise it along the lines of our learning outcomes.  There is another year left in this process before the originally targeted goals have all been met.